Finding focus in a blurry world…
This is a thought that popped into my head lately. And it comes from a friend sent some time ago when we where discussing their disability.
“But your disabled, you know what it’s like, you understand…”
Yes, this is true, I am disabled. The fact is I am visually disabled… I am sorry if even I a self-proclaimed advocate for disabled children do not understand what it is like.
I do not understand what it is like not to be able to hear, I do not understand what it is like not being able to see, being totally blind (remember I can see fairly well as legally blind people go).
I understand what it is like to not be able to see across the street, but not what it must be like to sit in a wheelchair and worry about steps and ramps. I don’t know what it’s like not to be able to hold a pencil to write my name, or be the child that understands every thing that is going on around them, but not be able to speak. I don’t know what it is like to need some one to help me get dressed or use the bathroom.
However there are things I do know. I DO know what it’s like to be stared at, even if I can’t see who is doing the staring, trust me, I can feel you. I DO know what it’s like to be laughed at or pointed at… asked questions, how, when, why… can it be fixed… I DO know what it’s like in school, to be left out or left behind and the last one picked… and needing some one else to take you where you need to go.
I don’t know what it’s like to have a child or be the child that has already spent half their life in a hospital, or making countless trips to therapy sessions… or be the child that has their life scheduled around therapy rather then a Little League game.
So, please… forgive me if I am the one doing the staring or asking the questions… I’m only human… You probably have some questions of your own for me, so be polite, ask… we’ll talk … and then get on being friends.
How is therapy going?
Can I have a ride in your wheelchair?
Yes, you can check out my white cane, just don’t use it like a sword!
I understand what it’s like to be disabled like me… not what it’s like to be disabled like you…
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In July me and some of my students from the Pottstown Judo Club visited the Montgomery County Association for the Blind (MCAB) Day Camp… A dozen plus blind and visually impaired boys and girls from the ages of 7 to 16 years old engaged in a hands-on demonstration of the Japanese martial art of JUDO lead by Sensei Richard Favinger, Jr. (me) of the Pottstown Judo Club, and assisted by Sensei Scott Rakowski along with Pottstown Judo Club junior students, Paul, Brandon, Nick, Dylan, and Matt…
We had a wonderful time teaching them 2 judo moves each and one hold down. This hands on demo allowed the blind children to throw my students (and they loved every minute of it!) We brought uniforms for every one to try (and feel), and some of Sensei Rich’s Keystone Games medals from past events that are very textured so they can feel them. (They are in the shape of a Keystone)…
They enjoyed hanging with us and telling us many stories of what they also enjoy. Many are members of the Junior Blind Golfers Association, and have participated in Special Olympics under Swimming, Running, and Horseback Riding…
My students had a GREAT time, and the campers asked us when we where coming back! Many also asked where they can signup for judo! Sadly for many they live far away from my club. But I will do my best to find them one local if I can… If not, I may just have to start a judo club for MCAB!
One of the harder things for my young helper students to understand was how they needed to describe every thing they needed to do or tell the other child how to move a foot or hand for placement. But they got the hang of it! (Teaching not so easy eh’ guys?)
I found it a little strange when one of the blind students asked me if I could guide them back to the mat area from the hall… suddenly I was the more sighted of the bunch. I seen one of my other students guide a blind student to the bathroom and patiently wait for him outside, then guide him back to our area. I’m so proud of my students, they acted like perfect role-models!
Special thanks to Mr. Jim Hunt camp director (yellow cap) [who is also blind] from the Montgomery County Association for the Blind… and the Pottstown Judo Club. This demonstration was arranged by Sensei Rich (me)…
The young fellow sitting next to me, is only 7-years-old and has limited light perception – the little dude almost jumped out of his chair when we made the first call for participants! Youngest of the bunch with a triumphant “I DOOOOOO!”… and was first on the mat! – Yea!!! I love it!
To learn more about Visually Impaired and Blind Judo please, contact me!
Judo is an official Olympic and Paralympic Sport for the Blind…
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Hello my blog friends. I know many of you have been wondering where I am. Well the truth is I didn’t really go any ware; but have been very busy working, taking photos and attending my Orientation and Mobility lessons.
Little League baseball season is over (for me any way) with the conclusion of the Little League PA Section 8 Championships my season is over! Now we just need to catch up on some editing, and filling print orders.
What have I been up to? Baseball of course! I shot ALL 7 GAMES of the PA Section 8 boys championship… with the final game ending in a double-header. Over four days of games and one rain delay, I managed to shoot over 6000 photos. (Unedited count). I also shot the first round of the girl’s softball Section 8 championships.
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